Teacher denies ‘humping’ cardboard cutout of the Pope in viral dance video mishap

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A teacher accused of humping a cardboard cutout of the Pope has blamed the “joke” on his “poor dad dancing”, a hearing has heard.

Andrew Philips Jones, a former head of religious education, denied “thrusting his hips” at an image of Pope Benedict XVI during a charity video based on viral dance the Harlem Shake in 2013.

Mr Jones, who worked at Caldicot School in Monmouthshire, Wales, also claimed he was unaware pupils in the unplanned video were holding model penises, and religious objects and dress, reports WalesOnline.

He stated those involved were not permitted to use them and were standing behind him during filming.

At an Education Workforce Council (EWC) hearing earlier today, Belinda Loveluck-Edwards, for Mr Jones, described the leaked footage as a charity video aimed at motivating pupils had gone “horribly wrong”.

The video was filmed at Caldicot School in Monmouthshire, Wales

In a statement read during the hearing, Mr Jones explained that he had not seen the video before it was posted online by a pupil and that he acted quickly to remove it from YouTube and social media.

He added that “poor dad dancing” was not grounds for unacceptable professional conduct, and that the cardboard cut out had been a misguided “joke” and was not intended to cause offence.

While Mr Jones was suspended after the incident he was subsequently reinstated and went on to be promoted at the school, Ms Lovelock-Edwards added.

During the hearing it was also heard how Mr Jones had reportedly sent around 300 Facebook messages to a pupil, known as Pupil A, and had suggested he visit for lunch one day after learning the student was completing work experience nearby.

The messages were investigated by police, but were not found to be sexual in nature and a criminal investigation was not pursued.

Andrew Philips Jones denied knowing pupils in the video were holding model penises

It was heard the school became aware of the messages after being approached by the pupil and his father, with Pupil A describing how “he felt guilty if he did not respond”.

However, it was said the pupil “did not seem upset or distressed” by the messages, and that their dad had not been concerned or suspicious around the messages’ content.

Ms Loveluck-Edwards added that comments allegedly referring to a teacher as a “bitch” and sending the pupil to another teaching for a “spanking” had been taken out of context, and had not been meant in a derogatory manner.

In a written statement, Mr Jones admitted it had been a “silly joke” that had been understood as such by the pupil, and that his word choice had been “twisted”.

Ms Loveluck-Edwards said the majority of messages referred to general school life or around a shared interest in a TV series, noting the number of messages had been sent over the space of a year, sometimes with weeks in between.

Mr Jones was head of religious education at the school

Both pupils described Mr Jones as a “good teacher”, Ms Loveluck-Edwards said.

In a separation allegation, Mr Jones also denied going to a nightclub with a learner after a school prom.

The hearing continues.





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